Striking
teachers
may shut
school

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Teachers at a Luton school are preparing for strike action next week.

Members of the NASUWT are planning six days of action at Challney High School for Girls over changes to pensions, workload, conditions of service and job losses.

It comes after parents were told two weeks ago that headteacher Shirley Havard had left the school on September 1 for ‘personal circumstances’.

Keith Anderson, regional organiser for the NASUWT said most of the teaching staff were members of the union, which could mean the school will close during the strike action. The first action is due to take place on October 12.

Mr Anderson said his members did not want to go on strike but “had hit a brick wall” over negotiations.

He said staff were unhappy about the way they were being treated, including constant monitoring and grading, and excessive meetings which were not productive.“We are a graduate profession which is being treated in the same way as the pupils in the way that they are being monitored,” he said.

“They are almost having to justify everything they do.

“Teachers are jumping through hoops to generate lots of paperwork and data and it is not a good use of their time.

“We have had long standing issues at this school.

“It’s not about wanting more money, it’s about wanting to do the job properly.

“They want to be able to be free to teach.”

Strike action is also booked for Tuesday and Wednesday October 18/19 and three days next month from 1-3 November.

Challney, on Addington Way in Luton, was graded as ‘requires improvement’ in its last Ofsted in 2015.

The school is also consulting on becoming an academy and joining the Chiltern Learning Trust.

Estelle Jennings, Acting Headteacher at Challney, said: “Whilst we are disappointed that a number of staff have decided to take strike action, I want to reassure staff, parents and students that I am committed to improving the school.

“Since becoming Acting Headteacher in September 2016 I have addressed a number of issues previously highlighted by staff members and l am continuing to work with the NASUWT in order to resolve any outstanding concerns. It is our intention that the school remains open on the dates in question and we will inform parents if this changes.”